Last Monday (Aug 29, 2011) some major newspapers had an advertisement campaign supplement for the new Volkswagen Jetta issued with them, printed on thick paper and in silver color, all glossy, shiny and metallic. The campaign included among other things, what you would call a “social media marketing campaign” or promoting your brand/product using social media like Twitter, Facebook etc., which is an indispensable marketing tool these days
In this case here, you would have to do stuff using social media promoting the Jetta which would earn you points. For example, you have to tweet what you would do and to what extent you would go to own a Volkswagen Jetta, tagged with the hashtag #Anything4Jetta, upload recorded voices, videos, songs and so on. The person with the most number of points will win a brand new Jetta! Everyone jumped on.
Predictably, Twitter world and general atmosphere around me was supercharged with “Jetta”, which was sort of irritating. I wouldn’t want to waste time participating in the contest, because I would lose followers on Twitter if I did, the tweets which were coming in were more irritating than funny and chances of winning were very slim anyway.
How #MalluCars Started and What it Was.
The name of the car stuck a chord. Actually I had thought it before, the pronunciation of the word “Jetta” is eerily similar to the Malayalam word “Chetta” – Which, depending on how it is spoken, can mean either “Elder Brother” or “Scumbag/Lowlife”. What if we gave a new name to it? Like a “Malayali Car?” So I promptly tweeted:
And it caught on as a Meme, igniting the imagination of many a jobless Malayali to come out with #MalluCar names of their own, and it became the first ever hashtag to trend, one that I created. Despite popular (non-Mallu) belief, #MalluCars was not entirely supposed to be how car names are pronounced in the infamous “Mallu accent”, but was more of a display of etymological satire. Let us say, Cars in Kerala, or Malayali cars. Or, what if these cars were given funny Malayalam names that sound similar to their real names? Those familiar with Twitter would understand the concept of hashtags easily, especially the “Mallufication” like the #ManglishSongs trend.
#MalluCars was the hashtag used to tag tweets relating to this, so they can be identified. My tweet was retweeted and many fellow Malayalees took notice and came up with their own funny names for cars. Malluism then took over, and more and more people joined in and tweets started flowing in, as imaginations ran wild and laughs were generated. The fun lasted for some time. but it later deteriorated into a language defacing game by many who mistook this for an “accent” game. Unfortunately, this was not for non-Mallus. But hey, no hard feelings. It trended and it was good fun, so as always we always take it in stride! :)
As for the social marketing campaign, #Anything4Jetta trended at first spot the entire day on Monday, and for a half a day on Tuesday as well. The campaign was well received, with thousands of tweets coming in. #MalluCars managed only 1546 tweets in all, but they came in bulk in a short time and it trended at spot 2, in India. The difference here is that Volkswagen spent millions of bucks creating their campaign and became the most trending topic, while I created #MalluCars spending zero bucks and it was the second trending topic for the day! I think I had my social media moment in the sun!
#MalluCars – The fun was in the Tweeting!
There were plenty of Maarudhis, Teyottas and Chevreletts, but imagination ran wild and there were born plenty of whacky and weird MalluCars. You can see all tweets here, but I have selected some gems and am displaying them here: (You can still tweet in your contributions, or add them in the comments)
BONUS: The real MalluCar: The “national” vehicle of Kerala nowadays.
The horrible, abominable monstrosity called the Ape Autorickshaw.